This week the photos do the talking as we document one of the island's most eye-catching traditions.
We change tack for week 14, debuting a photo essay from RA photographer Tasya Menaker. We sent her to Ibiza Town to capture the La Troya parade in all its glory, starting with the make-up process and ending up at Amnesia. We also dig deep into Defected chief Simon Dunmore's island past, and review Carl Cox, Fuse Meets Next Wave and ENTER.
For everything you need to know about the island in 2014, take a look at our comprehensive Ibiza guide.
Party parades in pictures
Pioneered by seminal wildcard Brasilio de Oliveira, and with a history that spans several decades and multiple superclubs, La Troya is one of Ibiza's most iconic events. Because of its free-spirited ethos and penchant for colour, it's also responsible for one of the more spectacular pre-party parades through Ibiza Town. This week's theme ("Se Multiplica"), translated loosely as "Multiply," meant that every member of the team had to resemble the party's famous red face.
Criss Fosella and his boyfriend, Martin Villaverde, both work for La Troya. Criss has been a singer there for ten years, while this is Martin's first season as a dancer. Around 10 PM, they get ready for an intensive hour of make-up and costume, before meeting up with the remaining 30-odd performers at the church of San Telmo by the port.
"So many people come up to me when I'm performing and comment on how much they love my shoes. Little do they know they sparkle because of duct tape."
Around 11:30 PM, the pair leave their flat and head out into the night, now known only as Kriss Malavaka and Vixt Greenville.
After a couple of blocks, the troupe stops for its first pit-stop. The colour of the mysterious shot? Red, of course.
From there, it's off down the port's main strip, ending up at the well-populated corner of Zoo Bar and Los Valencianos. Here, the performers pose for pictures and stop to talk with friends and fans. Manuel Parralo, best known as Manuela, is one of the outfit's longest-serving members, with a story that dates back more than 30 years.
At 2 AM, the parade arrives at Amnesia, where they split off into their various posts, ready to entertain the 4000-strong Terrace crowd.
As tough, commercial house pounds from the speakers, Kriss Malavaka takes to the stage and does what he came to do: sing his heart out.
Ibiza histories: Simon Dunmore
As the founder of Defected, few have developed as close a working relationship with Ibiza as Simon Dunmore. Not only is he partly responsible for some of the island's biggest records of the past 15 years, his Defected In The House residencies at El Divino, Pacha and now Booom! have helped keep house music relevant. We caught up with Dunmore at his villa in Santa Eulalia to dig deeper into those formative years.
I read the first time you connected with Ibiza was for one of Nick Holloway’s package holidays in 1986.
Yeah, it was the first time I'd been. Nicky had this Special Branch concept and community, I mean you know, it was one of the very first or early dance music communities. He ran enormously successful events in London and then one year he announced, “let's all go to Ibiza!” So about 250 people came out. Pete Tong, Paul Oakenfold, Gilles Peterson, myself, Bob Jones, it was a real eclectic bunch of DJs. The music was much more eclectic in those days anyway.
At that time I was a soul DJ, collecting rare soul records, so I played the soul room at the events we threw and there would be a main room where Pete Tong and Nicky and the other DJs were playing. As a result, the group literally divided into two. Basically there was Gilles [Peterson] and myself still playing soul and jazz and then there was this group that went off into the night, returning the next morning. Everyone was like, ‘what the fuck's wrong with these people?’ Of course we all knew what was happening. At that time the house scene was gathering pace in Ibiza but they really took it back to the UK and the UK club scene really embraced it. They started what I consider the biggest youth movement in the UK in recent times: acid house.
Tell me more about these parties you were throwing on the island in 1986. Who organised them?
It was slightly pre-season, around May, and we all just arrived and Nicky had set up a few clubs in advance and we would go to various bars and say: 'Look, we've got 200 people, we want to come down, we want to play music.' And of course all the bars were more than happy. Café del Mar was one of them, which was the only building on that strip at the time.
Were you returning to Ibiza much during the '90s?
Not so much as a punter, more for work. In 1989 I started my job at a label called Cooltempo doing club promotions and it was a really intensive job. For the next nine years I worked at EMI, which owned Cooltempo, and then I worked at AM:PM, which was owned by Polygram. So I'd come out to Ibiza to meet DJs and push promos. It wasn’t really until 2000 when Defected curated three parties for the Ministry Of Sound at Pacha on Fridays that my relationship with the island changed.
Defected really hit the ground running in terms of releases—Kings of Tomorrow's "Finally," Masters At Work's "To Be In Love," Paul Johnson's "Get Get Down"—all came out in 1999. These records must have been huge in Ibiza?
Yeah, totally. We just had a knack for picking records that had real breadth and longevity. Whether it be "Finally," or records like Banda Sonora's "Guitarra G" which is a very balearic sounding record, and even Shakedown's "At Night." All those, well maybe not "Guitarra G," but certainly the other two you still hear on a regular basis.
The way I see it, Defected had all of these hit records circulating and then suddenly the label that houses them all is throwing a party. People must have been like, 'oh I definitely want to go and check that out?'
Around 2003 dance music fell off the face of the earth as far as the majors were concerned. Radio stopped playing it, they wanted to play bands. They thought bands had much more longevity. They sold albums. They thought it was much more serious music, whereas dance music was about one-hit wonders. But it wasn't: people didn’t appreciate how social the genre was. Collectively the dance music community was just as powerful, but radio decided it didn't want to play dance music, and so at Defected we had to find alternative ways to promote our releases and promote our artists. So we decided to come up with a concept in which we were able to do that.
We did the Defected In The House compilations and the byproduct of that was us touring and hosting Defected In The House parties. But that wasn't always that easy. For instance, we had a hit with Roger Sanchez's "Another Chance," which was a big record in the UK. But in 2000, when we had our residency at Pacha with Ministry, Sanchez had a party at El Divino. It wasn’t easy to get him to leave El Divino because they paid him good money for exclusivity. We'd come across those sorts of situations on a regular basis.
We worked really hard to create and increase the profiles of particular artists, so every now and again we asked a favour from them to perform at our events. We've been involved with some people at very early stages in their careers, like The Martinez Brothers played for us at Pacha six years ago. Dixon played for us at Pacha around the same time. And that's in amongst your Bob Sinclairs and Martin Solveigs.
Defected at Booom! attracts quite a young crowd. Was that the same at El Divino?
No, it was older.
Was it mostly British?
No, it was really cosmopolitan. I think mainly because of the DJs that we were booking and also I think house music was much more universal then, much more cosmopolitan.
And then in 2005 you moved to Pacha. Right? Do you remember your first party?
No. [Laughs]. I should do really. I remember the closing parties much more vividly than I do the opening parties. I think because the opening parties, you're just so frantic. It's always last minute, there's always stuff going wrong. The opening parties are much more stressful.
Running a residency at Pacha must've meant a big step up in organisation.
I vividly remember the call from Mark Netto, who was running Pacha with Danny Whittle at the time. We'd had a conversation about staying at El Divino and the owner of Pacha was playing hardball in the deal, which surprised me. We'd had a really great season the year before and I thought we should have been rewarded for it. But his view was, 'well you need to be in Ibiza. It's a massive marketing angle for your label and it allows you to do this and that.' To some degree he was right, but we were bringing people through the door, the night was really successful and I felt like we were advertising his club as much as his club was allowing us to advertise our label.
So we'd had a few touchy conversations and then one Tuesday afternoon—it was a Tuesday because I used to work from home on Tuesday and do A&R—I got a call saying, 'would you be interested in coming to Pacha?' and I remember saying, 'we're really happy at El Divino and we don't really want to move.' Of course my heart was beating fast because we obviously really wanted to be at Pacha... In the end, we brokered the deal and we were given Tuesdays, which was a night they had always struggled to make work at Pacha. We knew we were going up against Carl Cox, but we programmed the night completely differently, to offer an alternative. It worked out really well.
I mean, I looked at the listings for 2005 and Pacha was huge on that house sound: Ministry Of Sound, Def Mix, Subliminal. It was incredible there were enough people to go round.
Yeah, but I think Pacha is an institution on the island, you know. I think you benefit from the fact that the club is probably going to be 50, 60, 70 percent full regardless of what DJ is playing. If you bring 30 percent of the people to the club they're the ones that bring the atmosphere, and they know the big records and react accordingly and I think everybody feeds off of that. I mean I still go to Pacha on a regular basis. When Solomun’s playing, I think probably 30 to 40 percent of the people there really know what’s going on, and the rest are just there because Pacha is an Ibiza landmark.
So how do you reflect back on those times in Pacha?
They were amazing. I remember the closing party for the first season and Junior Jack and Kid Creme were playing, and at that time Junior Jack was having massive hits with "Stupid Disco" and "Da Hype" and "E Samba" and he definitely rocked as a DJ. The closing party was packed and when Pacha's full it's a bit like an amphitheatre, you know, there's all these tiers of people and there’s balconies and people hanging off. I just remember looking around and seeing the whole place jumping and that was probably as good as I felt at any point within Defected. To go to Pacha on a Tuesday and make it work, and for it all to be based around the artists associated with Defected, was a really good feeling.
In 2013 you moved to Booom! Tell us a little bit about the decision behind the move.
We had a really good relationship with Danny [Whittle] and Mark [Netto], so when they left for Booom! I met with the owner Giuseppe Cipriani and went to the club. Even when it wasn't finished you could see its potential. And things were changing at Pacha. That year we also rebranded the label for the first time in 13 years, we were working with new artists... And scene in the UK was exploding and that meant we were working with a lot of new people. It just felt the right time to do a new club in Ibiza. It wasn't easy, there were a lot of delays last year but actually we used that to our advantage. We did a lot of pop-up parties, at various clubs: Eden, Sankeys, Savannah. By the time Booom! opened we'd created a lot of goodwill on the island and it worked out really well for us.
It was pretty incredible you managed to do so well amid all the chaos.
There was a sense of, 'I'm not going to let this beat me.' And we were lucky that Danny and Mark were really well connected on the island and that the DJs were open-minded and they knew about the politics and were just like, 'fuck 'em.' Let’s just see if we can make this work even though it's not as we intended, and like I said a lot of people were on our side.
It's a much smaller club than Pacha.
I think it's half the capacity.
Half the capacity? That's an interesting move in itself. Did your approach have to change at all?
Booom! is not a destination venue in Ibiza. If people go to Booom!, they're going to see a specific DJ. Not like at Pacha. I know that everybody that came to Booom! last year came because it was Defected In The House. Last year was a defining moment for us on the island and we know that because all the other nights Booom! put on were pretty poorly attended and they struggled. I actually like being at a club where you know people there are coming for the DJs, because you get a better atmosphere and a better vibe and the reactions and the party is that more intense. We had some great parties there.
This year you've launched Glitterbox. It's an interesting move for the same brand to run two parties at the same venue, thought I suppose it's a different concept.
Dance music is really broad and looking at Ibiza, there are a multitude of techno parties, a multitude of EDM parties and not much in the middle. I guess places like Blue Marlin cater for a slightly older VIP crowd, but that's a daytime party and there's nothing really like this in the Ibiza town side of the island. When we started it, people didn’t really get the concept. I mean the attendance wasn't great. We launched it during the World Cup which was a massive mistake. Everything suffered in the World Cup. I think the first gig we had on, England were playing Italy, so we had no English people there, we had no Italian people there. It was a disaster! Kick off started and ten minutes later I had to leave. I was distraught. I could hardly expect anyone else to be enthusiastic about it.
Gradually word of mouth has spread and we've had massive support and attendances have been building steadily. We had Hercules & Love Affair play recently. It was actually my favourite night on the island this year because it wasn't so packed that everyone was squeezed in and crushed, you could move about and dance.
Finally, I wanted to ask what your all-time favourite Defected Ibiza record is.
It would have to be Dubtribe Sound System's "Do It Now." If you don't know it, it's this really slow-burn jackin’ house record, with a great vocal on it. Dubtribe Sound System were pretty huge in the early American rave scene in the late '90s. They had a track called "Equitoreal," which is an amazing Balearic record as well. They played for us at El Divino and everybody said it wouldn’t work. I don’t think they went above 118 BPM and at the end of it everybody was really locked in. I think it's the challenge of making that record work. It eventually became a big record on the island that year, which makes it even more special to me.
This week on the island
Carl Cox at Space
Sharing company with the likes of We Love..., ENTER. and Elrow means that Carl Cox's Tuesday night party currently finds itself as one of the more stripped-back affairs on the Space roster. For the most part, that's because the UK doyen has rarely felt the need to rely on anything but the music; a combination of his own popularity and the strength of the programming proving more than enough to carry the venture. Though the lineups tend to draw largely from the same pool of artists year-on-year, every new summer carries with it the odd exciting addition. Music On staple Joseph Capriati is one such example in 2014. He was booked to play the club for the first time in five years.
Warming up the Discoteca for Cox, the young Neapolitan surged through heavyset slabs of groove-centric techno, keeping the beats streamlined and powerful. From the sound of their sport-style chants and the barrage of wolf-whistles, the huge, Italian-heavy crowd were fully on board with his every move. Over in the Terraza, Guti was tending to a smaller audience, though working his way through punchy tech house with equal panache. Back in the main room, as if to reward their patience, Capriati unleashed a volley of big hits to close, including Maceo Plex's "Crossfade" and "Conjure Superstar," and Tale Of Us' remix of Mano Le Tough's "Primitive People." When Cox entered the booth, Capriati gave him a long, heartfelt hug, thanking him for the opportunity. It's not something you often see at this level, which made the moment all the more touching.
Fuse Meets Next Wave at Sankeys
Round three of the Fuse and Next Wave collaboration took place at Sankeys this week, with Rhadoo, Petre Inspirescu and tINI among the featured guests. Having missed the second edition, my only point of reference is the opening, which by all accounts proved one of the best parties of the summer. Tuesday's bash didn't quite measure up, and yet there was enough there to constitute more than your average Ibiza night out. In The Lab, which sounded crisper and more punchy than ever, the A:rpia:r pair rolled out slinky house to a half-full room. Those present, though, danced raptly—twice I was scolded for using my phone. Given technology's obtrusive presence elsewhere on the island, this lent the atmosphere a rare hint of realness.
Downstairs, things were more lively. From the first record, tINI asserted her headline status, mixing thumping tech house with dubbier, Rhythm & Sound-style numbers. The floor, roughly three-quarters full, appeared to take great pleasure in bopping along in unison, raising particularly earnest cries whenever a new bassline came in. Back upstairs, the Romanians were operating at a similarly subdued pace to before, causing the dance floor's fringe figures to slink away, one by one. Sure, the club could've done with several hundred more people, but that didn't stop the vibe and the music from feeling and sounding unlike any other.
ENTER. at Space
When the ENTER. lineups were announced back in May, two parties in particular caught the eye: Apollonia and Dixon's respective all-night forays. With the French trio booked in for mid-September, it was left to the Innervisions chief to set the precedent earlier this week. However, before settling into any kind of groove, I headed to ENTER.Mind to catch the end of Pye Corner Audio. At first, the UK experimentalist's lush undulations were lost beneath the din of nearby sound bleed and people talking, but slowly the volume edged up, resulting in slow, sinister techno set to a red-lit scene from some dodgy sci-fi flick. In there for only 15 minutes, the experience nevertheless left quite an impression.
Back in less surreal territory, Dixon was two hours into his extended Terraza set. His performances so far this season have been a mixed bag: at Circoloco he is too often predictable, leaning on the same carousel of well-worn hits, while his warm-up at the Cocoon opening carried all the class of the Dixon of old. It was the latter that we saw more of at ENTER., as he cruised neatly through funky electro, jackin' tech house (Loco Dice's "Tight Laces") and straight-talking techno (Roman Flügel's remix of Daniel Avery's "All I Need"). Though he still found time for the croon of Dan Croll's "Nowhere," it proved only one of two or three vocal cuts embedded within an altogether thrilling appearance.
Fuse Meets Next Wave - Justin Gardner
Music On - David Pareja
Defected - Ryan Dinham
All others - Tasya Menaker
For more information on what's happening on the island in 2014, check out our comprehensive Ibiza guide below.
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